Parker& Co are well known as the ultimate destination for the very best in designer eyewear brands, featuring an unrivalled range within every brand. So what goes into selecting their fashion forward collections? We sat down with Lynne Parker, owner and head buyer of Parker & Co Eyewear to find out…
Editor: I’m sure you’ve heard this before, Parker & Co has a great selection of eyewear and sunglasses, and there seems to be a piece for everyone even those that find it hard to find eyewear that suits. So how have you made Parker & Co so different to others?
Lynne: I have always loved eyewear and it’s been my passion for over 25 years and at Parker & co we have always wanted to offer our clients distinct brands and collections with a real fashion forward direction. We have over 1000 pieces of eyewear and sunglasses ranging in price from $350 – $1000 so we try to ensure there is eyewear and price points to suit everyone.
Editor: How do you go about selecting the best eyewear brands to offer?
Lynne: In pre-Covid years Geoff andI always travelled to Europe to attend the eyewear shows, usually Paris orMilan. For me, these shows are like being a kid in a candy store, with literally acres of eyewear brands to explore and select from!
With so many incredible designers and frames, one of the biggest challenges can be deciding who and what to buy. Over four days of an eyewear show, I will view and select from over 12,000 pieces of eyewear at 28 designer appointments.
Editor: So many frames sounds exciting but a little daunting – how do you narrow it down?
Lynne: Experience certainly plays its part. I also have rather strict criteria for which brands will be selected to become one of only 10-12 brands we stock. I want clients to be able to view and understand the full story and essence of the brands we stock. That’s why, unlike a lot of eyewear stores who will have 50+ brands in store where you only get to see a few pieces from each designer. At Parker & Co you have a wide selection of pieces from the designer to choose from.
I believe to experience a brand you have to see the collection as the designer intended it to be viewed. Each eyewear brand for Parker & Co is chosen on its designer, its history, ethos, its business and sustainability practices. For instance, Moscot a 107 year old 5 generations old of eyewear-loving New Yorkers has been a fave at Parker & Co for over 20 years. Newer brand Projekt Produkt offers very fashion-forward styles from Korea, their core requirement for every collection consists of simplicity, calm and a bit of wit.
I also love that eyewear brands and designers are really considering the environment and changing their manufacturing and packaging practices. Dior and Celine eyewear manufacturers Thelios, have committed to sustainability and are working with the world leading acetate manufacturer Mazzucchelli, to create materials that are more sustainable. We have also just started stocking the fantastic new eco collection from L.A. cool brand, Garrett Leight.
Editor: What goes into your decision making as to which eyewear brands will make the cut?
Lynne: Each brand chosen for Parker & Co must have a unique offer, adding something different to our portfolio of eyewear. For example, Anne et Valentine from France offers a stunning vibrant colour palette, with smaller sizes to suit smaller faces in their eyewear collection. Cutler and Gross from the UK offer larger fits, combined with a strong, definite but understated style and a more subdued colour palette. Dior from Thelios LMVH eyewear with its Femme and Homme collections offer a sophisticated, elegant fashion look while sister brand Celine offers an edgier, stronger look. Victoria Beckham’s classic fashion pieces are designed to elevate the everyday.
Editor: Have the global effects of Covid 19 changed how and what you buy?
Lynne: I’m generally buying 6 months ahead of delivery so choosing which brands clients are going to love is always an exciting challenge even pre-Covid!
At the moment however, buying entails video calls to Paris or Italy at midnight to view the new releases of frames and sunglasses, as well as discussing fashion directions, the designer’s inspirations, colours and trends. It can be a challenging way to view frames but the positive is by embracing this way of buying it has allowed for a seamless flow of newness in eyewear for our clients.
Editor: Do you have tips for people like me about selecting the perfect pair of sunglasses or eyewear?
Lynne: We have a very personalised approach to helping people choose their eyewear. Whether it’s sunglasses or glasses, learning about a client’s lifestyle, interests, and individual style is so important to the process.
We like to guide you through the brands, the styles, how different shapes, and colours will meet those lifestyle and eyewear needs.
The goal in selecting the perfect eyewear is finding something that you feel amazing in. For some it’s the piece that has drama and style and elicits comments every time you are out, for others it’s the eyewear that has understated style and so comfortable that it just makes you feel safe, or for someone who never wears their glasses in public, is happy to go out and be seen in your eyewear. Style is, and should be, very personal.
Editor: How long should I allow when purchasing new eyewear?
Lynne: Our individual, process is at the heart of our personal Style Sessions where we provide you a dedicated, 45 minute session. We take the time to hone in as to what works best for your features and your look. We run our Style Sessions in store and also offer virtual sessions if that suits you better. Either way, they’re obligation free but the compliments you’ll receive with your new frames are guaranteed!
You can also just pop in, have a browse and a chat – whatever suits.
Editor: What drives you as owner and buyer of one of New Zealand’s top eyewear retailers?
Lynne: For me, the ultimate joy and success of buying is seeing people in eyewear that reflects their personality, who they really are, and how eyewear can allow them to show on the outside how they feel on the inside.